There was hardly a woman (or man) in my life that wasn’t watching the New Edition Story last night on BET.  This mini series allowed us to take two hours to stop being responsible adults and go back to a simpler time. A time where we didn’t have to worry about business management, client deliverables, accounting, marketing strategies and just be a “Candy Girl” reliving her childhood crush on her favorite group member or for the fellas wishing they could sing and dance so they could BE these guys.  But guess what, even while singing every song to the top of my lungs and doing all of the dance steps with my favorite group of all time, I could turn my business brain off.  This mini-series was filled with all kinds of business lessons for the new (and seasoned) entrepreneur.


Don’t be afraid and even if you bomb the first time, come up with a different plan but never change your goals.  One of the first scenes shows Bobby attempting to perform at a talent show.  Stage freight got the best of him and he left without performing.  Instead of giving up completely, he recruited his friends to stand by his side on stage (and the group now known as New Edition was formed)


Recognize when you need help and hire an expert.  As the newly formed quintet was practicing at Ricky’s house, they realized if they were to be taken seriously they needed someone to help them perfect their steps.  They knew they needed someone who understood where they were, where they wanted to go and the steps they needed to take to get there.


Be persistent.  Now there is a fine line between being persistent and being a pest but you have to be able to show people that you believe in your talents and you are willing to do whatever is necessary to move to the next level.  For them, one instance would be when Brooke Payne said no to working with them and instead of going home, they performed on the spot.


Don’t be afraid of hard work.  Nobody said this entrepreneur things was gonna be easy, glamorous or fun all the time.  Entrepreneurship requires a huge investment of sweat equity.  With the New Edition loves this mean missing time playing with friends, parties, and etc because they were practicing and perfecting their craft and once a certain level of success hit that turned into weekend and summer concerts .


Your brand is not about you, it’s about your audience. I can’t lie, I’ve heard my coach say that often.  And to be honest, when this particular scene aired, I texted her and said “come thru with the branding tips in the first 30 minutes of the NE movie”.  Brooke Payne explained to them that your name sets expectations, evokes feelings and creates a connection to your audience.


Read (and understand) your contracts.  Sometimes we can get so excited that someone believes in our business baby as much as we do until we don’t read the fine print.  Details are important in business.  Don’t get sucked into bad deals by being overly excited.  And most definitely don’t start working without a contract in place at all.  It’s hard for me to pick just once scene in the first night of the mini-series to use as an illustration because it was a running theme from the moment they won the recording contract with Maurice Starr.


Know your numbers.  You should always have a snap shot of accounts receivable and accounts payable.  You should always know where your money is going.  These young men toured every weekend during the school year and a world tour during the summer with a hit record under their belt with NOTHING to show for it besides mopeds that were purchased for them.  They end their tour receiving $0.37 each all because nobody on their team knew their numbers (or fully read/understood their contract).


Now as a super fan, most of their story wasn’t new to me when I watched part one last night but it was however the first time I looked at their story through my business mind and not that of the young girl singing “Candy Girl”.  So in honor of them sharing their story with us, let’s show them how much we love and appreciate them by learning from their mistakes and pledging to do better with our businesses.


As Your Next Big Move Catalyst, Twanna has worked as THE Business & Project Strategist for Empress Business Solutions. For more than 5 years, she’s worked exclusively with solopreneurs to start and grow their businesses.  For more tips on how to stay more productive and motivated in business, please sign up for our newsletter.



*image credit:  Eugene Adebari/REX*

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